After overcoming adversity at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, Danica Patrick and the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) are ready to return to the site of Patrick’s career-best NASCAR Sprint Cup Series finish: Atlanta Motor Speedway.
In Daytona last week, Patrick faced numerous hurdles, including a poor qualifying position and two wrecked racecars, but she was able to race her way into the field for the 57th running of the Daytona 500 and bring home a solid finish. With Budweiser Speedweeks in the history books, the “regular” Sprint Cup season commences with Sunday’s Folds of Honor 500 at Atlanta.
Last Labor Day weekend at Atlanta, Patrick and her GoDaddy team started the Oral-B USA 500 from the 27th position. Twice in the early stages of the race, she rallied from being a lap down. By the halfway point of the race, Patrick worked her way into the top-15 and would stay there for the rest of the night. Her lap times continued to improve and, by the 300-lap mark, she was solidly in the top-10. Patrick managed to run as high as fourth before taking the checkered flag sixth. The effort beat her previous highest finish – a seventh-place run at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City last May – by one position.
Patrick’s sixth-place finish was the best by a female at Atlanta. The previous record was Janet Guthrie’s 10th-place finish on March 19, 1978. Only a fifth-place result by Sara Christian in a Sprint Cup race on Oct. 2, 1949 at Heidelberg (Pa.) Raceway tops Patrick effort last year at Atlanta. Christian also finished sixth at Langhorn (Pa.) Speedway on Sept. 11, 1949, and Guthrie finished sixth at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway on Aug. 28, 1977.
The No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet team’s run at Atlanta was the fourth top-10 of Patrick’s Sprint Cup Career and her second at a 1.5-mile track.
Now six months later, Patrick returns to Atlanta after surviving a tough Speedweeks at Daytona. And, given her history of success at 1.5-mile tracks, she and the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet team are ready to get back on track in Sunday’s Folds of Honor 500.